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Designers focus on creating healthy homes

Today’s families are focused on living healthy, balanced lifestyles. That philosophy is playing a major role in the way homeowners are working with interior designers to create a healthy home.

“We’re trying to encourage people to live their best life in their space, no matter how large or how small the space,” said Kate Lester of Kate Lester Interiors in Hermosa Beach, California. “The kitchen is prone to being the main room, since it is the hub of the house and it’s where people congregate. So maybe create an interactive family island where the family can gather to learn about healthy cooking. This allows kids to get away from the television to spend time preparing dinner with mom or dad.

“I live in a small beach house and there is no kitchen island, but I did establish an area where my daughter has a bar stool. She sits there and eats her breakfast every morning while I drink my coffee. We have this time together because right now there is just too much technology and television and fast food. A healthy lifestyle is taking time to check in with the family.”

Healthy is not just physical; it is also mental. Jannicke Ramso, who creates interiors for children as the owner of Tiny Little Pads in Las Vegas, said it’s important to make space for yourself and your mind.

“Architects and interior designers are realizing the importance of designing spaces with people’s well-being in mind,” she said. “They have been doing this for some time, but that topic has taken on a new definition. It’s now about creating a feeling of health so families feel happy and comfortable knowing this is where they belong. And it can be any room where you want to feel good about yourself.

“This new design ethos realizes that workspaces can greatly influence physical health as well as the emotional state of mind. But there are things we can do right now to turn our home into a small wellness haven.”

Ramso suggests homeowners begin the process by decluttering, especially in a child’s room. Clutter can cause anxiety and discomfort, and it should have no place in a home.

“Our children have so many toys and stuff,” she said. “Create a storage solution with bins and buckets and cabinets, or go through the room every six months and collect some of those toys that the children are not playing with anymore and donate them to charitable organizations. Your child now has more open space to play and think.

“This same process can be carried through to other rooms, especially the master bedroom, which is for sleeping and relaxing the mind and body. Start with just five minutes a day to get something done, then another five minutes the next day, and within several days an entire room can be decluttered. Now it’s a healthy room.”

Lester said her mother would say she couldn’t have nice things because there were children in the house. But Lester knows this is the age of innovative materials.

“If I’m going to have the family in the kitchen, then I need to upholster in an outdoor fabric so no one gets upset when something is spilled,” she said. “And here’s something different. I recently stayed in a hotel where they gave me a cellphone sleeping bag. I used it and I liked it.

“So when I got home, I took this idea one step further and created a docking station where everyone places their electronic devices when we get together. We focus on each other, and it’s nice.”

Ramso likes to add natural accents to rooms, such as fresh-cut flowers and green plants. The plants improve air quality by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

One of the elements of a healthy home lifestyle is taking time for the family. Put a card table in the family room with comfortable seating and schedule a game night once a week. Make sure the fabric is durable.

And remember that color is important as it affects mood and well-being. Neutrals and natural colors are calming. Red is stimulating. Green is associated with calm and balance. Yellow is energizing. Blue is cooling, and black is dramatic. Color, of course, is a personal preference, and some signature items with the right colors will set the tone for the way you would like to feel in that space.

Arrange furniture so it faces a window for natural light. Light is becoming one of the most important elements in home design. Something as simple as natural light can provide a tremendous health and wellness boost. There are numerous studies that claim it improves productivity, alertness, mood and overall psychological health. Natural light is also important to the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

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